For four years strong now, Montana State Cru (where we used to work) has come to Portland for their spring break. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. We host this trip because we know that Portland needs more mission minded Christ followers. We take every advantage we can to get staff and students in the city in hopes that they would catch a vision to come back some day after graduation to volunteer or work with us to reach students. This year we had them on six different campuses talking to students about Jesus and about what Cru is trying to do. We also spent a day volunteering with a non profit in Rockwood doing some service projects.
One night of the trip we volunteered at the Union Gospel Mission downtown. Half the group served dinner while the other half pushed the coffee cart down the streets surrounding the UGM facility. This was a moving and emotional experience for many of these students. Most had never been confronted with the complexity of homelessness. Students engaged the homeless they met with smiles, a warm drink and conversation. By the end of the night many were visibly moved by the experiences they just had. In one interaction, three MSU students met a young homeless man named Colton. After a few minutes of conversation, Colton told the students that he was addicted to heroin and he hated his life right now. He told them he needed help. The students invited Colton to walk back to UGM with them to learn about some of the services offered there. Colton filled out an application to join the residential recovery program right there with the MSU students by his side. It was a powerful event to witness.
The picture below was taken at Council crest. We ended the week by taking the students there to see all of Portland on a clear day. We prayed for the city and invited them to come back someday to bring Jesus to the people of Portland.